When making a choice for your postsecondary environment, the campus visit is arguably one of the most important steps to take. Walking around on campus and getting a “feel” for what life could be like is a great way to finalize your decision. By talking to other students, professors, admissions officers and alumni, you will gain a sense of whether or not this is the right choice for you.
WHEN TO GO?
Usually, the best time to visit a university is during the school year (i.e. middle of either Fall or Spring semester) during your junior year. While some students take campus visits over the summer or during the fall of his/her senior year, taking this step earlier helps to narrow down the selection.
You’ll also want to go on a day during the week (typically avoid Fridays) so that you can see the university in action. By definitely avoiding summers & holidays, you’ll get a sense of how the university operates.
CollegeBoard gives a fantastic overview of how to determine when to schedule you campus visit. Physical evidence of the visit provided by the university (e.g. written excuse on university letterhead, pamphlet and handouts given by tour guide, proof of appointment) must received by CSA within 3 days of return to excuse the absence(s).
Some universities offer special visitation days (i.e. in spring of junior year and fall of senior year). Check online or contact the admission office since you may need to make a reservation!
Please note that juniors & seniors can be absent from school up to 2 days during the school year and it is considered an excused absence!
HOW TO SET IT UP
Here’s the easy part! Most universities already have a freshman undergraduate informational visit setup for you! Their websites offer methods of signing up for the visit and all you need to do is show up! For example, check out UT-Austin, Texas A&M-College Station, Texas Tech University & LSU.
THE ACTUAL VISIT
Even though the university-offered campus tour will cover most aspects, you don’t need to limit yourself to just that. CollegeBoard offers a Campus Visit Checklist that outlines questions to ask and how to get the most out of your campus visit.help students get the most out of the campus visit.
Collegewise.com provides a Collegewise College Visit Guide and suggests the following Non-traditional campus visit suggestions:
- Sit in on a lecture hall style class to see what a big class really feels like
- Grab lunch in the dining hall and (ever so tactfully) people watch
- Have a picnic on the campus lawn – most schools have a center thoroughfare that’s excellent for watching students go by or catching a Frisbee
- Attend a concert or presentation – many schools host events that are free and open to the public; check the calendar in advance to see if anyone interesting is coming to town
- Stroll the local neighborhood – whether you’re surrounded mostly by trees or a quaint downtown scene, it’s helpful to get a feel for what your college neighborhood would be
- Pick up a school newspaper to see what students are talking about
- Start a conversation with a staff member or student – you’d be surprised how many members of the community are eager to talk about their own experiences on campus
- Go to a sporting event – if you’re in town during a big rivalry game, get some tickets and scope out what it would be like to be a student there – and remember to wear the right team colors!
Students can be excused from classes at CSA to visit a college twice during each his/her junior and senior year. Please check with the front desk for more information.